Fewer millennials riding motorcycles, causing sales to drop

Updated: Jul. 19, 2017 at 7:23 PM CDT
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Orin Latch (Source: KLTV)
Orin Latch (Source: KLTV)
Motorcycle (Source: KLTV)
Motorcycle (Source: KLTV)
Street Rod (Source: KLTV)
Street Rod (Source: KLTV)

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - When it comes to motorcycles, the roads just aren't the same as they used to be.

Numbers released this month from Alliance Bernstein, an investment management and research firm, suggest that, when compared to their parents, millennials just don't think riding is cool anymore.

That's hurting businesses like Harley-Davidson who, as a result, are not seeing growth, and may see years of declines according to the report.

We stopped by a Harley-Davidson store to talk about the challenge the company is facing.

The motorcycle is a sign of freedom sign of peaceful comfort, and for some, a sign of a life well-lived. But new survey data shows fewer young people are buying bikes, but for Lone Star Harley-Davidson Owner Orrin Latch has seen worse.

"There's not that surge as compared to what had happened in the early '70s," says Latch.

He says the company is working to overcome that challenge.

"So Harley's committed to training 2 million new riders through their new rider course," says Latch.

That includes a bike called the street rod, marketed to new and younger riders to get them on board.

"This is in their least expensive models, they do it in a 500 cc and 750 cc," says Latch.

Latch says there's other reasons younger people aren't riding.

"People are starting later when they're riding. Parents are worried about their kids getting hurt, whether it's motorcycling, football, you can go down the list," says Latch.

He says that's all part of what's leading Harley-Davidson to make these moves.

"As we trained riders, less and less of them have even ridden a bicycle, and you're using that skill to ride a motorcycle," says Latch. "And the other skill is using a clutch."

Now, Latch is looking to the future and hoping they can train enough new riders to keep the love of riding from going away.

"We always worry, but it's been around a long time. It's still an economical and fun choice that people enjoy, and there's just no substitute for it," says Latch.

Latch also says that in Texas, you need to have motorcycle license to operate a motorcycle, something you can only obtain by completing a safety course. He says taking time out to complete the course may be another reason why some millennials are not riding.

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